I live far west of Chicago in Kane County, beyond Geneva and not quite to DeKalb. I met Joe through the Urban Knaves of Grain homebrew club. For such a smart guy and great brewer, he is incredibly humble and well-liked, but so are many homebrewers (at least I have found that to be the case).
BTW - I have brewed a few of your recipes from your site! I am a lager guy, so I really have appreciated the new insights discussed lately.